Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beating The Dead Horse

Sometimes there is a personal agenda associated with blogging. You impress a wide-range of audience with strong sense of humor, maintain a neutral stand, and gain traction on writing funnily about fairly innocuous topics. Then over time, you begin to interlace your personal agenda with humorous posts and subtly slide in your POV. Over time the humor takes a vacation and the posts are unabashed personal agenda promotors. Krish Ashok's latest post falls into the last category. Here is why I disagree with the post

Firstly, if you do not believe in a system - investing a lot of money, time and effort in participating through the excruciatingly painful steps of the system is the first thing you'd like to avoid. However, if you did not have these "internal organs" (of the reproductive kind) and as a result of that you were forced to particpate in the system, several points made in the post appear self-contradictory. Apparently a vedic priest was hired to conduct a marriage per Rg Vedic procedure and he recited mantras from Rg Veda that he uses to conduct any marriage. This appears to be a great sin on part of the priest. For the first time in an employer-employee relationship, employee doing exactly what he was hired to do is considered bad. Purely because Employer had expectations A and hired employee who only performs to capability B. "Gotra" is a matter of simple communication to employee that capability B is not required. Saying "Manusha gothra" like stuff everytime employee performs capability B is not even in the repartee-chappathi category. By the same logic, Nathaswaram vidhwan attending the marriage and playing Nathaswaram should have been very shocking. Cooks coming and cooking food must have been terribly offensive.

Secondly, contemporary wisdom always asks us to "consider the source". Asking a barber if you need a hair-cut is probably not the wisest thing to do. And since this is the central topic of Krish's post - I am hoping this is not ad hominum. Here is a person who is doing an inter-caste marriage and judging by his stated belief system and his remarks around his caste/extended family - this has not gone down well with eitherr in his immediate family or extended family circle. There seems to be this self-stated system (caste, smarthism, iyerhood whatever you may call it) that is opposed to his choices/opinions. This person has 2 options. (a) He can state categorically that the system is correct and pass good remarks about the system. (b) He can make disparaging remarks about the system and point out every possible negative aspect about the system. Doing (a) means the person's decisions/opinions and choices are wrong (person has opinions -> system says his opinions are wrong -> person says system is correct -> person says his choices are wrong). Doing (b) - means person's choice, opinions and decisions are correct. Take a guess as to whether this said person will align with option (a) or option (b). Impartial observations is probably a rare commodity here. Social commentary expressing personal opinions is useful and welcome. The vedic system could be flawed and incorrect independent of Krish Ashok's observations. The point here is about the flaws inherent in the process of the observation rather than the observation itself.

Thirdly, the hint of TPT. Conducting an inter-caste marriage is not a big deal now. I may be sticking my neck out here by saying this - but I am guessing not believing in brahminical rituals is probably not the most revolutionary thing done in the 21st century. While thar-perumai is always welcome and tolerable to an extent, much like anything else, overdoing it is a bit boring. We have had Ramanuja to Subramanya Bharathiar to Rammohan Roy who have "kann'la veral vittu nondified" the system. Not sure if the level of challenge Krish in today's world faced is even comparable to the challenges faced during times of these people. Inability to resist the ego masturbation of "look - how rationalist and 'murpokku sindhanai vaadhi i am " is the reason this post unimpressed me. There have been more people who have done this better, with less advertisement, and without betraying "my culture is so poor let me make fun of it and treat it with scant respect but remember.. my wife's Nair customs and rituals need to be treated with respect". This is too much 'sound' for not so great achievements.

Lastly, on throwing in things like "sanskrit pronunciation" is like pretending to have expertise in the system to comment about the system. Sure, there are many priests who do their job in a less than satisfactory way. Just like cooks who over-cookify potatoes, nathaswaram vidhwans who miss a sruthi or two, software engineers who browse facebook and twitter in their office computers during work time, citizens who spit on the road, employees working for companies which subtly violate visa regulations, students who answer a couple of questions incorrectly in plus 2 exams - vedic priests do make mistakes. They do mispronounce sanskrit words. Especially when you have a nosy groom around doing a ball-by-ball 'complaintary' at them when he shouldn't have hired them to start with. They are as flawed as Hawkeye, krish-ashok, kandasamy, munnusami etc. Normal human beings who selectively expect 100% perfection on stuff is a kind of futility that one shouldn't even waste time writing about.

To close - brahmins trying to pivot and distinguish them around the variable of 'anti-rituals' and 'anti-priest' things are now passe. Kamalagasan made a lot of money out of it and in the process made himself repetitive. Krish makes that category look extremely boring by flogging the dead horse beyond belief. Pointing out flaws in some aspect of the culture/caste/system/state/country you are a part of has lost its credibility and probably died with noisy NRIs who complained about India till the cows came home.

61 comments:

zeno said...

I really do like(oh okie admire) the way you look at things, construct your arguments, and the way you present them. Very Convincing. When I read that particular piece I just felt it was very funny. Never read between the lines,"My wife's ritual to be respected..." Possible that he never had any such intentions as stated in conclusion!

Anonymous said...

if you did not have these "internal organs" (of the reproductive kind) and as a result of that you were forced to particpate in the system......hahaha ROTFL

Anonymous said...

Puthusa Kalyanam anavan, Etho arva kollarula ullarran.. Take it easy...

-Ganesh

Anonymous said...

//However, if you did not have these "internal organs" (of the reproductive kind) and as a result of that you were forced to particpate in the system, several points made in the post appear self-contradictory//

Classic... :-). Soober pa...

Just to give it a more local feel here is Vadivelu's comedy about those internal organs.

http://www.youtube.comwatch?v=yfDSoUogsxI&feature=related

-Ganesh

Anonymous said...

Correct link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfDSoUogsxI

-Ganesh

krishashok said...

Hahahaha :) Hawkeye strikes again. Machaan, you make me sound like MN Nambiar when I am probably aiming for Surli Raja.

All your points are valid da. Totally agree - just not sure if you made an effort to understand where I was coming from. This typing business is too tedious, so if you are as jobless as I am, I am completely game for explaining my viewpoint on Skype (krishashok1) whenever you have time.

I have no pretentions of being some Raja Rammohan Roy type reformer and all. I only wanted a wedding that respected both sides, and just the Rg Vedic traditional rituals clearly did not, and I can explain that in detail if you are interested.

Despite your constant insinuation that I am some sort of NRI type hawa dude who craps on his heritage without understanding it, I am not. I understand my heritage as deeply as any one else, and some 500 word blogpost is simply not going to explain that better than a real life conversation.

If Skype isnt doable, if you are in Chennai sometime, the beer is one me (and the explantion too)

I said...

Frivolous revolutionaries and quicklunch rationalists are getting to be as common as inter-caste marriages.

Anonymous said...

Krishashok....Based on Hawkeye's previous posts, it sounded like he is in India currently. May be you guys can meet and blog about the meeting, for everyone's viewing pleasure :-)

Alan Smithee said...

I was looking forward to this post after you shared it in reader. Overall, very underwhelming and a bit wordy. You shouldn't have written starting from the paragraph about TPT. This not only makes your post a squabble, but also waters down your main arguments.

Though I completely agree with the two options you present in the 3rd para, I'd have liked you to analyze his post and determined where he fits in instead of letting the reader decide/guess. I guess there is a continuum from a to b and I would assume that this guy went to b not out of conviction but because that was easy.

Anonymous said...

Please meet and blog abt it. Do hawkeye and krishashok know each other personally?

krishashok said...

Alan,

It's nice of you to point out that gradations from a to b exist and it's not a black and white transition, but the assumption that an individual's shift from accepting the social system he grew up in, in entirety (which is option "a") to complete disagreement ("b") happens only out of a lack of conviction and was fashionable and easy ("Yeah look I am a rebel") sort of thing to do.

The general tenor of pretty much all of Hawkeye's comments on my blog have to do with this oversimplification - "You dont know enough about your heritage, so your half-assed attempts at being a rebel aren't valid or interesting enough". The "lack of interestingness" part, I can agree with. But the validity part seems a little disingenuous on his side because he uses the same broad, general, inaccurate brush to paint those he dislikes as not being intellectually sound enough to be a rebel.

And that is precisely why I wish to have a conversation over beer instead of tediously typed critiques. I believe that I have researched the Rg Vedic marriage rituals deeply enough to have a viewpoint, a viewpoint that Hawkeye claims that I have no right to have. The argument that I have no right to have a contrarian viewpoint because someone greater in intellect, like Ramanuja, did so in a tougher era sounds like faulty logic. We are products of our times, not the 12th century.

And of course, there are many things in my post that one can disagree with. But why the ad hominem assumptions about the motivations of the writer? Without even meeting me in person. That seems rather shallow

Dilip Muralidaran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sreekrishnan said...

I think the Answer by the Dad in Law " Manusha Gotram" sounded a bit rude to the intentions of the Priest [ and i dont understand why he seemed Bigoted ]. Quite possibly a funny moment - but does sound different in this context ...

Change of Gotra - or the matter of Gotra itself isnt a topic of offense, debate or fun. Its trivial to the whole picture ...

Probably Hawkeye was tempted to write this post at that point? atleast i found an "eh? why did he say that" moment there ...

Dilip Muralidaran said...

Dear Hawkeye,

I'm sorry to say your arguments do not impress me. Here is why...

Your premise that Ashok is advertising his opinion(s) is false. I think opinions exist to be advertised or rather 'expressed'. If they are not then what are they? You have an opinion on something. You do not tell anyone nor do you implement it in your personal life because you do not want to confront anyone or the system? What good is it for?

I think like you, Ashok has the right to his opinions and express it in whatever way he wants. It's fortunate Ashok lives in todays time where he has access to something your father and my father did not have during their youth. Perhaps our fathers wanted to question things as well but never could because their understanding and access to information was limited back then? Nevertheless we have the tools now. Its called social networking aided by advancements in technology that makes networking possible on a scale one could not visualize 15 years ago. I'm sure you would agree with the phrase "question everything". I think this is precisely what Ashok does and unlike me he does it with a sense of humor which makes it easy to accept/appreciate and analyse without confronting or insulting anyone.

Ashok has opinions and his opinions are based on things he has read and understood from the very own Vedic literature he is unhappy with, just like many of us like myself. While i agree we may not be experts on Vedic literature and Sanskrit and its quite possible, our understanding is wrong, it doesn't impress me when you merely point out that his assumptions/understanding could be wrong but never bother to point out why and how. Unlike Ashok you fail to explain items like "Kanya Dhanam" and "Kasi Yathirai" and how irrelevant, meaningless, sexist and discriminative these practices are.

I would be happy to see you prove Ashok wrong about his understanding and assumptions of our culture which seems to be discriminative from our normal understanding of it from what we read.

P.S. Previous comment had too many mistakes grammatically so deleted and re-commented. Sorry about the confusion.

self discoverer...... said...

Dear Hawkeye,

You must be a famous blogger. Im not. In fact I doubt u would've heard abt me. Similarly I hadn't heard abt u till link to this post was sent on my gchat. Having read both posts, I want to share a few personal viewpoints.

I dont believe in the system. My parents do. I love my parents and donot want to hurt them. System is not asking my wife to jump into the fire when I die(atleast now). So its just a harmless bit of mumbo jumbo needed to be done before I can officially screw my partner using my internal organs (of the reproductive kind but due to 21st century technology covered by a thin but strong rubber called a contraceptive).

My parents would want a vedic priest to preside over it. My grand uncles complain that they dont chant properly. I dont question them as I dont care nor am I aware of the correct pronunciations. Like how I wouldn't bother what code was written into my software if I was a biz guy alone. But if Im a Tech Architect who is outsourcing work to these guys then I would run through code and do competency analysis. But since Im not "allowed" to code myself I have to grudgingly hire someone who is "allowed" albeit choosing someone who codes as close to my requirements as possible. Comprende?

Ur secondly argument is ridiculous. I have the right to ask the software developer what does the code "do" why? because I dont want any backdoor entry type code to be written into it(if they had done that the french dude who siphoned off money wouldn't have been able to do it). Priest is not doing a haircut, he is consumating a marriage. Even Christian weddings in the US couples ask priests to change their vows to their preference. Till Death do us apart is one of the most common phrases deleted FYI. So why not us? Its his marriage right?

I agree my wife's nair customs need to be followed "looked" like it was being inconsiderate to our customs but no, all it meant was I dont give a shit abt this but I dont wanna force u to *Not* give a shit abt urs...thats ur choice...I think thats what I would also like to do...btw its more of common sense than rationalist and mur porku types...similar to having a traditional iyer wedding and a traditional nair wedding he is having unconventional iyer wedding and tradional nair wedding...to each his own right? abt the disparaging remarks thing. I dont like Manutd FC. I call SAF as a mofo. doesnt mean he is or others cant like him. I dont and I make no bones abt expressing it the way I feel it. No one is forcing the other to think in the same line right?

Last but not the least:
Tweeting at work and pronouncing the "sacred mantras" wrong is not #SameThing. Tweeting @ work and taking calls in between "sacred mantras" is #SameThing. Screwing up your project and wrong pronunciation is #SameThing. I think to this atleast Hawkeye, krish-ashok, kandasamy, munnusami, Avinash Y etc will agree. P.S> If I screw up code, rating goes down, salary reduces what abt equal accountability for priests?

Sorry for the rant. Feel free to delete it if offensive.

Cheers
Avinash

SathyaRam said...

Hawkeye

You are completely right. Saying ' Manusha gotram ' etc. is either Balachandra or Kamalhassan stuff which is quite just cinematic.... and you are right about Kamal... the guy who did so much money by thinking he exposed the flaws in the system but his life out of cruel brahminical is fence is no good. if someone does not like a system they should move away than doing crocodile tears

Anonymous said...

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Dinosaur kurma said...

"Manusha gotram"...wah wah wah. How forward these people are. Since when was it wrong to belong to or declare association to a gothram? If you don't have one, then say that you don't. Its not a crime to declare you belong to a particular gotra, nor is a crime not to have one. Is it a crime to declare you are an Indian? Its like going to a visa office and declaring your nationality as "Manusha". One tight slap you'll get from the officials.

The brahmin priest has a job to do, to recite the mantras that have been recited for ages; if he doesn't or mispronounces or inludes something like "Manusha gotra", people start complaining about his authenticity. Why have a brahmin priest to do rituals? You have an option of taking an auto to the nearest marriage registry and getting your marriage solemnized.
Intercaste marriages were not recognized in the ancient days, neither were gays. They catered to people and customs of a particular time, and we follow it because of tradition. If you want..you can start your own modern veda, which is all inclusive and perform your weddings according to that.

Yes, the rituals are age old. They are sexist. They are not also inclusive to lesbians,gays and transexuals. So they're all wrong and discriminating. Abandon them. Go and have fancy weddings with "custom vows", a great difference to your marriage that will make!

And there is the other guy who thinks he is funny..declaring in public that he is waiting to get his "ancient rituals" done to take his girl to bed, and has to use rubber because its the 21st century. Balle, yenna oru modern man! Paavam antha ponnu. With a guy like this, she has been screwed for life already.

Alan Smithee said...

KrishAshok, I don't know enough about you, and all I know about your convictions or compulsions is from that linked post. May be you have sound reasons to criticize the system, but those are not apparent from your post. When I said option b was easy, I did not mean that it was fashionable. In light of contradictions between the "system" and what you wanted to do/did, it is easy to fault the system. If you reread your post, you will realize that you sounded more along the lines of "these grapes are sour" than a reasoned critic. Anyway, all this sounds petty and gay. Like you said, drink beer and watch TV instead. That would curb your urge to make a point. :)

I said...

Alan: Ada ada. Such insightful argument lines.

SriThere said...

Dilip & Krish,

Can we stick to the scope of this post please. Both of you are referring to some sort of a past argument between Hawkeye and Krish on whether vedic lit. is correct or incorrect. None of that figures in ths post or the linked post written by Krish Ashok.

I have never read Krish Ashok before. It seems to me that hawkeye's critique is only about the rationale used by Krish Ashok to arrive at some of the statements he has made in his post. Why go beyond that and talk about unrelated topics?

Dilip,

you say that you disagree with Hawkeye's post but do not directly address even one single item in the post but spend a lot of time extolling value of social n/w technology and right to express opinion. I do not seee a single sentence in either post that states expressing tan opinion is wrong.

Alan Smithee said...

adhuvaa varudhu.. quarter remy martin without wife's knowledge... appidi dhaan insightful comments varum.

Anonymous said...

Vanthutaruya Collectoru....sollitaruya Governoru....

Ilango said...

@Dilip
Agree with another comment here. Your comments starts like you have some logical rebuttals to provide but your entire comment has nothing to do with the post. After a point your comment seems like a google ad for social networking sites.

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye is clear and convincing.Dunno what his post has to do with expressions,social networking etc.Krish ashok is an awesome blogger but i have always found his tambrahm related posts not laced with humour (claimed otherwise though by author)

Sri

Sesh said...

Yedhukku? yedhukku indha intention to pwn and pummel KA? Diogenes thanama irukku. Dangerous precursor to the war of the world of the future I say. Religious divide is not eternal. People of the future ku indha dichotomy of individual opinions thevai padum, to start off on missions to annihilate people in opposing groups to promote their survival advantage and all that. OK, now I exit; off to try my best to unite Ajith and Vijay fans now.

Blogeswari said...

Romba naal-a no blog shandai and I was very upset.

Nandri hawkeye. Let the entertainment begin!

Anonymous said...

refreshing view hawkeye,otherwise u can only (hear)see so many jalras for the jilpa posts.
anamika

Anonymous said...

Hey hawkeye,
awesome post ! you should not be allowing rediff commenters like the discoverer idiot post comments on your blog.

Alan Smithee said...

Oh.. wow!.. Just wow! Out of boredom, I was reading thro' the comment section today. Here is a gem from "self discoverer"..

Priest is not doing a haircut, he is consumating a marriage. Solemnizing?

Hawkeye said...

KA,

(reposting with typos corrected)

I am happy to take up the offer once I am back in madras. as this week i am everywhere between madurai and trichy.

/* The general tenor of pretty much all of Hawkeye's comments on my blog have to do with this oversimplification - "You dont know enough about your heritage, so your half-assed attempts at being a rebel aren't valid or interesting enough". The "lack of interestingness" part, I can agree with. But the validity part seems a little disingenuous on his side because he uses the same broad, general, inaccurate brush to paint those he dislikes as not being intellectually sound enough to be a rebel. */

1. I don't recollect saying this as it seems inconsistent with what I usually argue. If I had said that you did not read enough about the subject matter without discusisng and getting to know your interpretation of the subject, I take it back. I have a feeling that an old comment of mine regarding science vs religion is what you may be referring to and I have not in anyway questioned your knwoledge but probably the act of interpreting them and the balance of how you argued them.

2. "pretty much all comments". This is also not true. I have great liking for your blog and have commented saying so many times (and sometimes even in posts where you dissed customs and rituals) and recommended your blog to people i know. for my part i think disagreeing with writers I like is a healthy thing and probably more interesting than arguing with people who I do not like. I just did not say this in my post because it would have removed the spirit/sting of the argument from the post and mellowed it.

i'll use an analogy to say why i chose this post as an exception. Jay Leno said a very nuanced point when he was asked in the late 90s as to why he picked on Bill Clinton so much. He said (paraphrase) "it is easy to be humorous and crack good jokes on people whom you like and have no personal grudge towards. The reason why my 8 year long commentary on Bill Clinton was funny was because I didn't have it in for him. If I did have some sort o a grudge then I would not have been funny and people would have said that I was just taking it out on him" For most of your recent post and somewhere else in your other posts the parts where you let your inner opinions come out - it seemed like a grudge thing not a humor thing. There were a few below the belt hits that I thought was not befitting.

Bala said...

Most critics for the Brahmin way of life has always been from within. While it is a good sign of an evolving way of life, serious thought must be put in to understand why the particular way was chosen. Just because the brahmin intellect has grown to question ( which the previous generations did not) doesn't mean we raise questions on aspects which had been laid down. However a debate on individual aspects in which each one of us agree/disagree would be most welcome.

Anonymous said...

//"Manusha gotram"...wah wah wah. How forward these people are. Since when was it wrong to belong to or declare association to a gothram? //

I fully agree with this statement.

Methinks KA is smitten with 'secular-progressive' kind of ideas.

In true sec-prog fashion, he also brings in 'Jesus' unnecessarily.

-A proud Hindu.

Anonymous said...

"I don't want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers...I think we need editorial oversight now more than ever. Anything we can do to help newspapers find new ways of expression that will help them get paid, I am all for."

--Steve Jobs, speaking with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal at the conference D: All Things Digital

So true. Blogging has become about personal fights and petty agendas.
Shame on you Hawkeye.
I will add on to your comments section No 34. Isn't that what you really care for :(

tilopinion said...

Your post was a little too wordy and as usual full of Tamil words. Inter caste/inter religion even international marriages are nothing new today. Why then are girls in such marriages forced to give up their cultural identities and adopt their husbands' and in laws? If girls are so liberated these days, why do we still hear cases of oppression? Ram Mohan Roy and others no doubt did great things, but that does not mean we do not need crusaders now. Ashok just fought a tiny battle for his own selfish purposes (he loves his wife and respects her, go figure!). He is not a Ram Mohan Roy, but he is braver than many other guys I know.

I am proud of our culture. But if this culture has certain elements such as honor killings based on gotras,(previously Sati and Dowry) then I (like Ashok) stand against it. His small battle was not against the poor priest, but it was against the bigoted practices prevalent in our society since a long time. If that makes him an NRI types Angrez chamcha guy in your eyes, then it is a small price to pay indeed.

PS: And aren't all blogs a form of TPT?

Anonymous said...

Dont like a blog, don't read it. End of matteru. Sachin may be God to some guys. To me(and most parents) he is just holding up precious study time for many schoolguys. Just an opinion.

Adhukaandi spending your time to bash sachin or accuse him of being insecure is stupid.

Anonymous said...

Ithu epdi theriyuma iruku.....Dance saamiyaarum Yagava munivarum sanda potukira mari iruku....Nadathungo...

Anonymous said...

Last anon comment..pakka ..NETHI ADI POINT

Anonymous said...

@hawkey

I really liked your views you shared on this subject

@self discover..

It looks like you have a don't care attitude to such rituals, and may i ask why do you find fault with priest, when you actually don't care about it? It is a case of "kuli'ku etha Joli" - you don't care about it, neither does the priest. Start taking more care if you are really interested in knowing what he says. To match your analogy I am sure you don't write space/time optimized code unless some one really cares about it.

As for reasons behind rituals

Kanya dhanam - I dont even know how people like KA/you can find fault at this. It is a ritual where the father of the bride offers his daughter as a gift to you (in your contemporary logic you request for the girls hand and the girls father graciously gifts her hoping you would take good care)
@KA There is nothing sexist about it , and nowhere does it say that the girls house should alone settle the bills

Kasi yatra - Is nothing but what you now call Cold feet. It basically enacts your sentiments you thought about before you decided to get married (whether you want to study more or whether you can start taking care of a family). And there is nothing Male chauvinistic about this, infact it shows that women are way better and were not befuddled by such thoughts.

as for preference of boys it probably takes lot more faith to understand this. You need to believe that after death a son does last rites tharpanam etc which reaches the abodes and hence one wishes for a son for this (and not for reasons while he is still alive)

Also you should know that people have taken great number of measures to understand our philosophy and arrogance and ridiculing is definitely not one of them. So if you really want to learn be prepared to give some respect/faith

-hari

krishashok said...

@Hari,

As long as both sides are from the patriarchal tradition, a Kanya dhaanam is not a problem. In my case, one side is matrilineal and found it offensive, even if it is symbolic (after all, everything in a marriage ceremony is symbolic) to gift/donate/give away women. You might think it odd, but yeah, different communities in India have different symbolic preferences, go figure :)

I like your modernist and positive interpretation of the Kasi yatra, but again, you are not looking at it through the eyes of a non-brahmin person from a matrilineal family. You are also not looking at it deeply enough from a contemporary meaning perspective. Think about when these Hindu wedding rituals and customs were designed. They were designed in an era where child marriages & arranged marriages were the norm. It was customary for a young boy to study and then be married in his teens. It was also customary for parents to find a suitable bride. So at his wedding, the Kasi yatra is a symbolic ritual that captures the boy's dilemma (higher studies vs family life) and its resultion in favour of the latter (thanks to some persusion by his to-be father-in-law). Now let's fast forward to our era. People get married in their late 20s, early 30s. And in my case, I got married to a girl after wooing her and proposing to her. It was a love marriage. I am not blaming the customs, but sorry, they are neither designed for love marriages nor are they designed for women who also have careers :) That, in essence is why I found the Kasi Yatra silly. I did not want to go to Kasi to do any higher studies. I had enough trouble getting through my 4 years of engineering and I was already working for 7 years when I got married (and my wife, for 4 years), so that "symbolic jaunt to Kasi" is meaningless. I also did not have the dilemma of choosing between education and family life cos I was not a 17 year old about to marry a stranger in an arranged marriage :)

Arrogance, Hari, is claiming that traditions and rituals are perfect the way they are, and do not need any modernization :)

Anonymous said...

Dhaanam - Involves two parties (Giver and Receiver). According to our culture, the Giver should offer with humility and respect. Let's say we do Anna Dhaanam (Offering Food) then the receiver must be seated. The Giver washes the feet of the receiver and offers a dakshina (A betel Leaf, banana and a 1 Rupee coin/anna in olden days) along with the food. Once the offer is made, the food belongs to the receiver.
Similarly in Kanya Dhaanam, the given offers his daughter to the receiver. Only in Kanya Dhaanam, the Giver should be seated and the receiver should be standing and accept the offer humbly. Also the Giver gives dakshina (Again betel leaf, banana and 1 rupee coin). This dakshina is termed as Vara Dakshina.
We with our uncontrollable desires have changed the rules, started demanding dakshina and now blame the system for Vara Dakshina.
Once the Kanya Dhaanam is over, the bride belongs to the receiver's family. Hence the gothram change.

A brahmacarin (Student) after his completion of studies should visit Kasi and then enter into house-holder's life. During the stay in guru kula, the student does not even have the privilege of wearing sandals. He gets to wear new sandals, can use a hand fan, umbrella before marriage, visits Kasi and then comes back to marry the bride. The whole story about the groom going to kasi in anger and dejection and the bride's father pacifying him and offering his daughter is all nonsense.

Our culture is a wonderful system. Only we don't understand it properly. This worked for many centuries until it was invaded by many Islam rulers and then the by the British. There is nothing chauvinistic or unreasonable in our culture.

-Karthik

Dilip Muralidaran said...

Dear Anonymous,

I have a few objections regarding your "Objectification" of a person as a "Commodity" while claiming this to be a cultural process or something extremely nice an affair when it so is not.

Allow me to explain...

"Once the Kanya Dhaanam is over, the bride belongs to the receiver's family. Hence the gothram change."

-> The woman is a "person", she DOES NOT belong to anybody or family or any organization of any sort. Her love is for the man she is going to marry & vice versa. Nobody can donate/offer another person to anyone else or any organization like a group/family/cult. It used to be called slave trade and its not illegal, if you were not aware.

"The whole story about the groom going to kasi in anger and dejection and the bride's father pacifying him and offering his daughter is all nonsense."

-> Dude, grooms nowadays dont walk out of a wedding pissed off at the father in law. They are much more mature because they are not children, nor is this a child marriage (which by the way is illegal too) so why is this dumb ritual relevant now?

"Our culture is a wonderful system. Only we don't understand it properly. This worked for many centuries until it was invaded by many Islam rulers and then the by the British. There is nothing chauvinistic or unreasonable in our culture."

-> Why cannot women enter the kitchen or the pooja room when they are menstruating? Can we ask every man who mastrubated to not do the same? Hang on a minute, can we even ask that question to a man? I know its taken for granted to ask a woman before handing over some kovil prasadham to her "aaththula nee irukkkiya?". Elderly people do this till date. Also lets talk about Sati, Polygamy and Wife Beating which is very much a part of our Indian Culture.

Please do not type things just because you can. Our culture is unique like every other culture is. It is wonderful like every other culture is in some aspects but like every other culture, prehistoric meaningless religious dogma is also a essential element of our culture. Otherwise why else would we be the #1 country in this world to practice female infanticide/genocide at levels that would put islamic clerics to shame. (source: http://50millionmissing.wordpress.com/issues-2/)

Anonymous said...

Dear Dilip,

but like every other culture, prehistoric meaningless religious dogma is also a essential element of our culture. Otherwise why else would we be the #1 country in this world to practice female infanticide/genocide at levels that would put islamic clerics to shame.

Where did you get the idea that our culture prescribes infanticide & genocide? Is it prescribed in the manu smrithi or the vedas? So everyone who follows our culture go about killing babies? You make it sound as if killing babies is our nithya karma.
People kill people. Bombs kill people. Not science or religion.

Nowadays, the employees in the company are termed as resources. Isn't that not "objectifying" a person as a "commodity"? The employee is a "person", the organization does not own them. Are the companies running slave trade?

It appears you have no idea about our culture.

Dilip Muralidaran said...

Dear Anonymous,

You now compare a company (a business) and a wedding and justify a terminology?

As for the Veda's:

In the Vedas Lord Indra himself has said, 'The mind of woman brooks not discipline, her intellect has little weight' -- Rig Veda 8:33:17 (source)

I rest my case.

P.S. Yes, rig veda's do give explicit instructions on how to rape a woman after she bathes post her periods and if your invite to let her have sex with you is not accepted. Go google it. If you cannot then start here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dilip,

You said that our culture encourages infanticide/genocide. I asked for a source. Now you are talking something in tangent. Everybody knows that Indra is surrounded by Menaka, Rambha and Urvashi and he always rushes to Lord Narayana for help. Indra is compared to the mind of a man who are always fantazising. He is not Brahman.

As I said earlier you have wrongly interpreted most of the things in our culture. I guess there is no point in continuing the discussion further. Peace and out.

Anonymous said...

Dilip,

People spend 15-20 years learning the Vedas and Shastras. A casual interpretation of the verses is not on, since they carry a lot of subtle meanings. If you dont have the time to learn them, it is better not to talk about them.

In any case, Indra is a demi-god and many of his actions are used to show us how NOT to behave. Again, one has to learn from a bonafide guru and not just from a google search. If you want to learn from google, that is fine, but please dont use your incomplete knowledge to misinterpret the Vedas.

Anonymous said...

From what I have read of yours and Krish Ashok's blogs,both of you seem to belong to the same category...that of the larger group of Tambrahms who have a strong subconscious identity associated with being a Tambrahm, but wanting to erase this in the pursuit of being rational, egalitarian and non-parochial...it is only the degree to which you move between these extremes that is different, but the polarities are fixed.
What I guess is that, such conflicts are more in tambrahms who have gone through a strong early life grind learning sanskrit, music, dance, studying in vidya mandir, padma seshadri, etc.. that you want to adhere to or move away from after different exposure in later life- college,stay abroad, etc.,
many tambrahms who are by virtue of their economic/social class/context more integrated with the larger community don't seem to have this much of conflict.
also, it could be a generational thing..i don't see much of people above their 40s having such issues..identities are forged stronger when they are forced to. and today, as never before, this seems to be the norm.
many tambrahms seem to like the fact that they are part of a tradition, but would expect older people and female gender to uphold them, while leaving themselves free to the individualism of modernity....
this is a very general social statement/opinion/observation and not meant to offend anyone...though reluctant to give antecedents, am compelled to state that i am a tambrahm too, to give proper context

Anonymous said...

same commenter as above...a clarification...my comment was general and directed at socio-cultural mores of tambrahm society out of which this blog debate was only a particular instance..
also, what i mean about conflicts is that, while people always chose between the polarities based on the instance, the choice did not need much justification and did not put one into a slot because change was gradual..nowadays it seems to evoke lots of self-questioning on identities becos one's moorings are constantly shifting

White Rice Vellaichaami said...

Why cannot women enter the kitchen or the pooja room when they are menstruating? Can we ask every man who mastrubated to not do the same? Hang on a minute, can we even ask that question to a man?

dude women can masturbate too. are you saying that masturbation is the birth right of men and women never do it?? am i detecting a sexist tone here?

either way menstruation/masturbation argument is moot because both sexes masturbate but only females menstruate.

moreover dude the slokas individually might mean something but it has to go with the context (a few slokas before and after) to the get the true meaning what it is trying to say.

what u quote is akin to criticizing sachin for getting out because of a rash stroke. we do not what the situation demanded, how his back was etc etc.

its amazing how most of these modern self-loathing tambrahms assume they are experts to criticize as soon as they read a few books (either for timepass or to interpret things the way they have already decided they are gonna see things). in my opinion its saying as though "i know newton's 3 laws of physics so i am a physics expert".

we learn physics/chemistry etc for at least 5-6 years and do not even see the edge of an ice cube let alone the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

somehow suddenly reading 2 books on the vedas makes you qualified to criticize its values?

people spend all their life times (read 50-60 years) and still don't grasp the nuances of our sacred texts given how a single sanskrit word can have dozens of different meanings.

my only request to them pagutharivaathis is please don't criticize things blindly by reading just a couple of books.
you certainly won't become qualified by doing just that

spend some quality time (at least the bare minimum of 5-6 years of quality time maybe spread over 20-25 years. why 5-6? because thats the time we spent on basic sciences in school) and then form your views.

Anonymous said...

@KA

I believe kasi yatra still has a decent level of significance in contemporary world. Many people still think of studying their second/third degree when they are 25-30 (take MBA for instance) and go through this dilemma. In your case too if I understand it correctly it seems you had done this when you where 17, but just that you are enacting it now

In a broader sense, this is a bullet point that you have to check to make sure you are ready for marriage and that there are no other obstacles. You dont really make hay when the sun shines, but you still use that phrase now .

Also you are right in assuming that i am looking at it through an eye of a brahmin. But i assumed you are one too and hence the previous explanation. The entire wedding schema that you put forward looks like a brahmin wedding . If you are not up for it or believe in it, why follow it. Why not go the Arya Samaj route?

Also we should keep in mind that the priest has learnt the rituals keeping majority of the people in mind ,and if you are an exception (like going through a different version of cold feet) it is entirely your responsibility to learn accordingly

Lastly i agree that claiming traditions and rituals are perfect without offering a explanation does show arrogance, and kindly excuse me if i did so. I was just trying to say that asking the right person the right question and in the right way will always give you right answers .

-hari

Anonymous said...

@Dilip

It pains to see you have read/quoted only those sections that talk about sex. You should know that vedas are always qualified by "truth" (Not always by "right thing i should do") So if there is something that is true (in your case sex) yes it will be documented in vedas. But you have conveniently forgotten what the other section says. There are some sections which describe about killing the adharma , that doesnt mean you go and start killing people that section is meant for kshatriya(army/police etc in modern world), You have to see what section caters to you/matters the most and try and follow that.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway u can disable further comments for this post?plz

worijinal anony said...

"people spend all their life times (read 50-60 years) and still don't grasp the nuances of our sacred texts given how a single sanskrit word can have dozens of different meanings"

>>>The fact that sometimes takes 60 years to understand itself proves its uselessness. Shucks, if you read something for donkey's years, when the heck wil you implement it in real life?

marriage is a matter of 30-40 years max. The ceremony is a matter of 4 hours. It takes common sense to have a happy marriage, no need to read some arcane text written eons ago by authors who have no clue of what the pressures would be in the 21st century.

Dilip Muralidaran said...

Just adding on that...

"people spend all their life times (read 50-60 years) and still don't grasp the nuances of our sacred texts given how a single sanskrit word can have dozens of different meanings"

This technique that conservatives use is called "Moving the Goal Post". When you point out inconsistencies, fallacies, violence, anomolies in sacred text (which is claimed to be 100% perfect and has been working for 1000's of years and will work for all times to come).

They come around and say it takes 50 - 60 years to understand it. Knowing well no human being would survive that period to come back and argue. An impossible target is far more easier a fallacy one can use to win an argument rather than make valid counter argument.

If religious text has nonsense + good philosophical advice the entire argument that one should leave out the bad stuff and read the good stuff is hog wash. How the hell does one identify whats good and whats bad? Who identifies this stuff? We can trash all the gods, get rid of all the rituals and just extract the philosophy out of the Vedas and read them. That way it would make more sense than what we're doing now. But on NO, that wont happen because its SACRED. Either you do it all or not do it at all.

Hawkeye said...

Dilip and other anonymous'es,

Please do not divert the comment section to other topics that you feel strongly about. I do not think I have written anything about some of the comments you have left. It almost feels like 8th std midterm exam where you are filling up the answer paper with answers to questions that you know rather than the questions that have actually been asked.

my post is very simple. it may be verbose etc etc but at least it does not include within its scope and all that stuff you guys are arguing about. that is a separate topic. we can have a discusion about it but you still have no idea what my views are about such topics. So you arguing with me as if i already disagree w/ you is a little bit presumptuous.

Kaber Vasuki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
K said...

More eloquently put than I ever could! Couldn't agree more.

Kaushik said...

If Hawkeye & Krish Ashok are ever planning to meet up in Chennai, can we have an audience for that please? :D

Nilu said...

Can I get the address of this motherfucker who calls himself Dilip Muralidharan? I'd like beat him up. Thanks.

Nilu

SriThere said...

Nilu,

Not worth anybody's time pointing out bad logic to Dilip.

Sad that people who has his 'level' of reasoning & logical skills don't get eliminated at 8th std. But actually go on to earn a degree and influence bigger idiots than him.

hawkeye, maybe you should consider deleting his links. It insults atheists more than theists.

Aditya.R said...

If I get a chance. I will pass a 'fatwa' against these agnostic/atheistic fools. These shameless secularists must be cleansed from this country. Picking up Brahmins is too easy a job for these guys.Its become fashionable too.